by Amber Davis
- When 58% of black voters aged 18-29 hit the polls in 2008, they didn’t just set a turnout record for their demo, they set an all-time record for young voters from any racial or ethnic group. But those numbers may not hold in 2012 (TheRoot.com, 2 December 2011).
- A study by The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) found that young African Americans were “the most likely to belong to groups involved with politics; donate money to candidates and parties; display buttons or signs; and contact the media.” But in 2010, over 75% stayed home, sitting out vital midterm elections (CIRCLE, 21 November 2011).
- Income and educational attainment tend to be the best indicators of civic involvement after age, with older, wealthier and better educated consumers voting at higher rates.
- That makes the level of political engagement among black voters even more unusual — and something that community leaders and politicians want to hold onto for the future.
WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS
- The socio-political power of young black voters is still underestimated and, even more so, untapped. Figuring out ways to help them channel that enthusiasm into social change at the community level could win a loyal and engaged audience outside of elections.
- Despite common assumptions about their apathy, being young and African American seems to be a positive indicator of political engagement.